Developing an understanding of copyright versus trademark law can be intimidating, especially if you are attempting to navigate the nuances of the states' individual laws. New York’s copyright vs trademark framework can be especially complex. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced attorney, you can ensure your business is properly protected in respect to the law. This article provides an overview of the basics of trademark and copyright law in New York.

Understanding Trademarks

At its core, a trademark is a phrase, word, symbol, or design that's used to identify a particular product or service with a particular provider. A rare breed of trademark also includes, "sound marks" and "smell marks" which are used to identify a brand or product.

In the United States, you can apply for a federal trademark registration through The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The application is filled out and submitted online, and will require a fee of around $250 to $400. You can also apply for a New York state trademark registration through the state of New York. Depending on the nature and scope of your trademark, your attorney may recommend filing a federal trademark registration instead of a state trademark.

U.S Copyright Law

Unlike trademarks, copyrights are established automatically once the work of authorship is created. The work of authorship may include literary, artistic, musical, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. However, a copyright registration with the US Copyright Office is still highly recommended as it provides several advantages like a legal presumption of authorship and the right to statutory damages and attorney's fees in the event of copyright infringement.

In New York, copyright registrations are governed by federal copyright law. Therefore, New York's state laws have no impact on the copyright registration process. To apply for copyright registration, you must prepare an application and submit it to the US Copyright Office. You also have the option of filing a registration on an unpublished work, or a registration for an entire book, film, collection, or other set of works.

Copyright vs. Trademark

The differences between copyright and trademark are essential and it is important to understand them to protect your business in the right way. Copyright protects creative work such as books, music, art, photography, and films that have been fixed in a tangible form. Trademarks are more akin to logos, names, or slogans that identify a certain product or service as belonging to a particular company or individual.

Copyright is designed to protect the original expression of an idea, while trademark law protects the identity of the brand and its associated products and services. Trademarks are only considered to be protected once they are used publicly in the course of commerce whereas copyrights are protected at the moment of creation.

Getting Professional Help

Whether you are attempting to protect a trademark or copyright, it's best to seek out a professional attorney who understands the complexities of state-specific laws. An experienced New York attorney will be able to provide the best advice when it comes to filing trademarks or copyrights. An attorney can help you with a variety of services like filing applications, reviewing contracts, or defending against infringement.

UpCounsel provides access to experienced business lawyers that specialize in copyright vs trademark law. Our network of experienced attorneys provides high-quality legal advice on demand, and can provide you with the help you need in New York.




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